Every parent is naturally anxious when surgery on their child is discussed. Many times, this causes anxiety for the child as well. We want to make sure you all feel as comfortable as possible with the prospect of surgery, so here’s a little synopsis of what to expect when you’re facing an eye muscle procedure!
When you get to the surgery center, initially your child will be asked to change into a gown. There is typically a television available where they can watch kids shows to distract them. Children are typically given a medication by mouth that helps to relax them and to reduce any separation anxiety when they leave their parents for the operating room. Eye drops will also be given which help reduce bleeding during the procedure. Please note that these drops also dilate the pupils, so don’t be alarmed if you notice a dilated pupil after the procedure! The anesthesiologist and the eye surgeon will both check in with your family to answer any last minute questions. Then, it’s time to give your little one kisses as they leave for the OR. We will take excellent care of them!
The staff will do their best to make your child comfortable as they are brought to the OR and sedated. Unless the child is older, the IV will not be placed until the child is asleep. Parents are not permitted to enter the operating room. The procedure will vary in length, typically ranging from about 30 minutes to 1 hour. You will be updated as the procedure progresses regarding how things are going.
At the end of the procedure, the doctor will come out to the waiting room to let you know when the procedure is complete. The staff will monitor your child briefly in the recovery room and will then ask you to join your child after about 10-15 minutes to re-orient and comfort them. Don’t be alarmed if your child is upset when they wake up. This is very common and does not mean that they are in significant pain. They will be able to start drinking and eating slowly in the recovery room. When the staff feels comfortable that you are ready to leave, they will review all instructions.
Expect to use eye drops and/or ointment when you get home. The ointment goes into the eye, not just on the eyelids. Also, plan to have tylenol available at home for any discomfort. It is normal for the whites of the eyes to look like a solid sheet of red. There is sometimes intermittent double vision as your child’s brain adjusts to the new alignment of the eyes. Your child will be seen for a post-operative appointment in the office 2-3 days after the procedure. Call our office if you have any concerns or questions prior to this visit!